Things to Love & Hate about Vista

Love

  • New start menu – In general the new start menu is easier to navigate. By typing a few letters you can quickly find an application. Alternativly you can navigate the menu structure without filling the screen with cascading menus.
  • Better system searching. Finally. – You get relatively fast results without too much pain. It has room for improvement but it’s 100x better then XP searching.
  • File-system meta-data tagging – You no longer have to create sub-folders for everything. Just save all your stuff into one core location and use tags and meta-data to find it. This in conjunction with searching moves away from hierarchical storage. This makes it much easier to manage 100,000’s of files without having overly nested folders.
  • Better photo browser – Along with the generic file-system meta data there are photo specific attributes and a photo browser that makes it easier to look at large collections of pictures.
  • Other things I loved? Nothing really.
    • Tablet and Media Center are great if you’re using Vista as either a tablet or a media center. Having these features built in didn’t really change anything.
    • Aero is nice. It looks better then the XP theme but doesn’t dramatically impact how you use the computer. Flip-3D is also nice but slower then the traditional Alt+Tab. Whenever I see Flip3D it reminds me of the “Window->Cascade” menu in Windows 3.1. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Hate

  • Security dialogs, warnings and confirmations. I generally don’t turn security features off but it’s so awful I just had to disable it in order to actually use my computer. Security shouldn’t impact the user experience unless the user is actually doing something that could harm the computer. These security dialogs are now all over the place.
  • Stuff that used to work in XP may no-longer works (my scanner from HP doesn’t work, my web-cam from Logitech doesn’t work, certain software applications such as Quickbooks’05 are not supported, my standard dell sound card driver didn’t work without a lot of tweaking. etc, etc.)
  • Stuff that changed but didn’t improve. There are many example of dialogs and interface screens that got re-vamped and didn’t add significant improvements. In fact many of these seem to have lost some features or gotten unnecessarily complex.
    • Windows explorer used to have a film-strip view when viewing photos – gone
    • You used to be able to select the photos you wanted to print from the photo printing wizard – gone
    • You used to be able to change the date/time from one dialog, now it’s four separate screens .
    • You used to be able to adjust your screen/display/theme from one dialog, now it’s five separate screen.
    • Remote desktop forgets my multi-monitor resolution when I re-connect to the desktop.
  • There are now 50 different control panels. That’s 50 different places that you could screw up a setting. (Win2000 and XP had about 23)
  • Sidebar. – Anything that takes up permanent screen space should help users work with their computer. The sidebar is a classic example of a distractor. Google desktop and Yahoo both have their own versions of this same ‘tool.’
  • Business/Home/Ultimate differentiation. – Business should be a super-set of home so if you wanted home plus some other stuff you would get business. Now certain features aren’t in business but they are in home. You can’t have Windows business and still play games during lunch like solitaire.


Should I upgrade?

Probably not. Unless you like living on the edge or are developing Vista sotware there really isn’t a compelling reason to migrate. Tools like Google and Yahoo desktop fill the gap for desktop search and ‘sidebar widgets’ (if you like that sort of thing) Picassa is a good photo stop-gap for XP machines. The time saved by other improvements across the system are outweighed by the time lost due to security dialogs, re-learning and incompatibilities.

If you are really itching to improve productivity I would instead recommend the upgrade to Office 2007.


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4 thoughts on “Things to Love & Hate about Vista”

  1. If you really need to play solitaire at work, it’s simple enough to enable games access in the Business Edition.

    See http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/2044/vista_business_edition_install_enable_games

  2. “Better system searching. Finally. – You get relatively fast results without too much pain. It has room for improvement but it’s 100x better then XP searching.”

    Uh…except for the fact that I can’t specify both a filename expression and a different expression for inside the file to search for at the same time. Without that it makes it almost unusable to me.

  3. Other things that changed for no good reason, causing me to waste time looking for something that I once went to quickly:

    – “Add/Remove Programs” renamed “Programs and Features”
    – “Uninstall” button in Add/Remove programs is very hard to find and blends with other buttons despite its primary importance in that dialog
    – Network settings once in one place now spread all over (sharing wizard, network center, etc)

    Overall, I agree with you. I love Office 2007, but Vista misses the mark and just adds frustration in terms of my daily usage. Couple that with its outrageous hardware requirements and it costs a lot of money without adding substantial value. I have uninstalled it on two of my machines, but kept it on my Media Center because I do like the new widescreen interface there.

  4. when right clicking picures in a map and clicking “Print” you get a “Printing wizard” but it can’t print three images on one page (2 smal and one bigger) as in XP and that so called wizard doesn’t even find my printer! the search sucks compared to xp as mike said…

    all wizards sucks

    explorer doesn’t remember my viewing settings, like if i set it to “View larg icons” or “View details” and close it and go back it just pick a random view and its difrent in all directories

    It is eating memory as shit, I have 2GB RAM and if I doesn’t have any program opened and look in task manager it’s using 1GB – 1.3GB and no it’s not a virus, add or anything like that cause it have been like that since i installed it…

    and desktop > right click > personalize > choose between 50 diffrent windows for diffrent settings
    compared to XP:
    desktop > right click > properties > and taadaaa set any screen saver/display/background settings

    I use Vista and overall I like it 🙂

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